Newton St Petrock
Some Old Devon Churches
By J. Stabb
London: Simpkin et al (1908-16)
Transcribed and edited by Dr Roger Peters
Full text available at
Prepared by Michael Steer
Between 1908 and 1916, John Stabb, an ecclesiologist and photographer who lived in Torquay, published three volumes of Some Old Devon Churches and one of Devon Church Antiquities. A projected second volume of the latter, regarded by Stabb himself as a complement to the former, did not materialize because of his untimely death on August 2nd 1917, aged 52. Collectively, Stabb's four volumes present descriptions of 261 Devon churches and their antiquities.
NEWTON ST. PETROCK. St. Petrock. The church consists of chancel, nave, south aisle, south porch, and west tower with three bells. The nave is divided from the aisle by four arches resting on granite pillars. There is a good deal of wood carving in the church. The altar table is carved on the front, sides and legs, the pulpit has the emblems of the Passion. It is entered by a staircase constructed in the thickness of the wall; one feature of the pulpit [plate 169] which is worthy of notice consists of the candlesticks which are spiral in shape, these are unusual in Devonshire, I have only come across one or two instances. Most of the bench-ends are carved. In the chancel there is a brass tablet in memory of Walter Powell Jones, for 22 years rector of the parish, during whose incumbency the church was restored; he died January 6th 1895, aged 66. The font is of rather unusual shape, a deep circular bowl, with hardly any shaft, and plinth with the corners cut away. There are slight remains of the old wall plate in the church. There is a sundial on the porch with the inscription:- John Andrew C.W. 1723.
There are some curious epitaphs on the gravestones in the churchyard of which the following are samples, (the spelling is given as it is on the stones).
"His friends the have a verse engraved
The words which he did name
You readers all both great and small
I hope it is no blame."
"He sing'd Gods Praise most all his days
Or played music sweet
His life is blast his time is past
He's trampled under feet."
"At last he moan'd both sigh and groand
He had a sad complaint
I hope he's blest and gone to rest
He did sincere repent."
Poetry does not seem to have been of a very high order of merit in the neighbourhood, but these old inscriptions will soon wear away and seem worth perpetuating.
The registers date: baptisms, 1578; marriages, 1578; burials, 1737.